Junior guard Pierre Brooks put up 18 points against Cal on Dec. 9. Photo by Elle Rotter.
SARAH HOHMAN | SPORTS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
The men’s basketball team took a 97-90 victory in double-overtime over California on Dec. 9.
Butler started off slow in the first half, and Cal seemed as if they would never miss a three. They shot over 50% from behind the arc in the first half — graduate guard Jalen Cone was a big part of this.
The Bulldogs ended the half with a Finley Bizjack three which energized the team and the Hinkle Fieldhouse crowd. The momentum continued for Butler in the second half, but Cal came crawling back from a 11 point deficit.
Both overtimes were back and forth until in double overtime junior guard Pierre Brooks hit a clutch three, and senior forward Jahmyl Telfort hustled on defense to get a key takeaway which allowed senior guard Posh Alexander to take a foul on the other end.
Let’s go beyond the box score.
This team fights back
Last season, it felt as if whenever Butler was down, they were not going to come back and win. This is a different squad. The Dawgs were down the entire first half, but they came out at halftime ready to make a comeback. Head coach Thad Matta talked about what he admires about his team.
“I love their togetherness,” Matta said. “They are a cohesive group in terms of in the locker room and during practice. That’s good stuff and I tell them all of the time, ‘These are the best days of your life. Enjoy it.’ Fortunately, we are in a good spot right now.”
One of the main reasons Butler was able to pull off this game was the veteran presence on the court. Alexander, Brooks and Telfort all played over 40 minutes. In an overtime game like this one, it is important to have guys out there that have experience. The young players on the bench were able to provide energy at the end of the first half, but in those overtime minutes the veterans were key.
Telfort came up huge in overtime after a very slow start. The forward put up two points in the first half and five in the second. In the two overtimes, he scored 13 to help this Bulldog offense. Despite coming up short in most of his shots early on, Telfort said he knew he had trust from his team.
“I just know my coaches and my teammates trust me,” Telfort said. “It’s going to happen. You are not going to make every shot. [It is just important] to remain level headed and to just keep going.”
Senior center Andre Screen also came up big for the Dawgs. The center came in for Jalen Thomas who was in foul trouble. Matta gave Screen credit for his physicality against Fardaws Aimaq, who has proven to cause trouble for his opponents in the paint.
The last two games have had slow starts from Butler that have made them have to climb out of holes. They have been able to pull out wins in these match-ups, but the team is going to have to learn how to pick up the pace earlier on. Especially with Big East play starting soon, Matta said this is something the team needs to work on.
The Dawgs will have one more non-conference game against Saginaw Valley State on Dec. 15. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Hinkle.